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Oh Pure and Radiant Heart (original 2005; edition 2006)
by Lydia Millet
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0156031035, Paperback)
Oppenheimer's first full day at the motel was devoted to television. He located the remote on the bedside table, where it sat beside the enigmatic telephone with its sheet of intricate numeric instructions, and eventually by pressing the button marked power discovered its function. -from OH PURE AND RADIANT HEART
In Oh Pure and Radiant Heart, the three dead geniuses who invented the atomic bomb-Robert Oppenheimer, Leo Szilard, and Enrico Fermi-mysteriously appear in Sante Fe, New Mexico, in 2003, nearly sixty years after they watched history's first mushroom cloud rise over the New Mexico desert in 1945. One by one, they are discovered by a shy librarian, who takes them in and devotes herself to them.
Faced with the evidence of their nuclear legacy, the scientists embark on a global disarmament campaign that takes them from Hiroshima to Nevada to the United Nations. Along the way, they acquire a billionaire pothead benefactor and a growing convoy of RVs carrying groupies, drifters, activists, former Deadheads, New Age freeloaders, and religious fanatics.
In this heroically mischievous, sweeping tour de force, Lydia Millet brings us an apocalyptic fable that marries the personal to the political, confronts the longing for immortality with the desire for redemption, and evokes both the beauty and the tragedy of the nuclear sublime.
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:49:35 -0400)
"Oh Pure and Radiant Heart imagines a world in which the three geniuses who were key to the invention of the atom bomb - physicists J. Robert Oppenheimer, Enrico Fermi, and Leo Szilard - are displaced to contemporary America at the moment history's first mushroom cloud rises over the New Mexico desert on July 16, 1945." "When Oppenheimer, Fermi, and Szilard appear in Santa Fe in 2003, Ann, a reference librarian, and her doting gardener husband, Ben, take them in. With the long-dead scientists for houseguests, Ann and Ben are swept up in a quixotic and calamitous quest that takes them from Ground Zero in Hiroshima to the Nevada Test Site to the United Nations on a ramshackle pilgrimage for nuclear disarmament. As the scientists, faced with the evidence of their nuclear legacy, cross the United States - bankrolled by an earnest, pot-smoking Tokyo millionaire - they attract a growing convoy of RVs carrying groupies, drifters, activists, former Deadheads, New Age freeloaders, and religious fanatics who believe Oppenheimer is the Second Coming. Meanwhile Ann and Ben fight to save their marriage, gravely threatened by her obsessive devotion to the ghostly men of the Manhattan Project."--BOOK JACKET.
(summary from another edition)
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